Senegal - Mining
Phosphate mining, fertilizer production, petroleum refining, and the production of construction materials trailed agricultural and fish processing as Senegal's top industries in 2002, and petroleum products and phosphates ranked third and fourth, respectively, among export commodities. Mining has taken on added importance for Senegal's economy in the post-independence era, and the industry was dominated by phosphate rock (which contributed 17% of export earnings), phosphoric acid, fertilizer production, artisanal gold, and petroleum exploration. In 2001, production of aluminum phosphate was 190,000 tons (31,000 in 1999 and 405,400 in 1974); calcium phosphate, 1.7 million tons, down from 2 million tons in 2000; and calcium phosphate-based fertilizers, 160,000 tons. In addition to the Taiba phosphate rock mine already exploited northeast of Dakar, the government has identified deposits at Matam, whose 40.5 million tons of reserves would likely remain unexploited under existing phosphate market conditions.
Sea salt output was 130,000 tons in 2001. Also produced were hydraulic cement, fuller's earth (attapulgite) and other clays, natural gas, crude oil, limestone for cement, sand and gravel, and stone. The government's estimate of unreported gold production has been 550 kg for several years; many foreign companies had active exploration permits in Sabodala and Kanoumering, where Precambrian (Birimian) metamorphic rocks were exposed and significant reserves of gold have been reported. Iron ore reserves of 600 million tons have been identified in the Faleme, Farangalia, and Goto deposits, with a forecast capacity of 12 million tons per year; their development, though, could not justify the cost of creating the extensive port shipping and rail infrastructure needed to exploit the deposits. Eastern Senegal also had 350,000 tons of marble, as well as deposits of peat, uranium, titanium, serpentine, and other minerals.
In 2000, a newly elected government included among its top priorities the development of the country's inadequate infrastructure by improving the highway system, modernizing railroads, and constructing a new airport. In 2001, the African Development Bank Group approved an $18.7 million loan to help finance the 148-km Diamniadio-Mbour-Kaolack road project. The 25-month project was expected to revitalize economic growth in the region. The Ministère des Mines, de l'Energie at de l'Hydraulique was responsible for the administration over natural resources, and the Direction des Mines et de la Géologie was responsible for the mining sector.